Click here to view the manual to this game.
Phoenix is a shoot 'em up arcade game developed by Amstar Electronics (which was located in Phoenix, Arizona) in 1980, released by Centuri in the United States and by Taito in Japan. Bootleg versions of Phoenix were released by TPN and others. Atari also ported the game to the Atari 2600 console in 1982.
Like many arcade games of that era, Phoenix is a top-down outer space-themed fixed shooter similar to Taito's Space Invaders. The player controls a spaceship that moves horizontally at the bottom of the screen, firing upward. Enemies, typically one of two types of birds, appear on the screen above the player's ship, shooting at it and periodically diving towards it in an attempt to crash into it. In addition to the missiles, the ship is equipped with a shield that can be used to zap any of the alien creatures that attempt to crash into the spaceship. However, the player cannot move while the shield is active, and must wait for a short period (approximately five seconds) before using it again.
Phoenix was one of the first full color arcade games, along with Galaxian, so at the time it stood out. Also, it has distinctive shooting sounds that have become very familiar to fans of the genre. Most importantly, the Phoenix mothership was one of the first video arcade game bosses to be presented as a separate challenge. Furthermore, it was available in both arcade and cocktail cabinet chassis formats (a DIP switch setting allows the game to be moved between formats).
January 3, 2014
A surprisingly good conversion!
I never actually saw Phoenix on the 2600, though I can't say I'm surprised that it exists (they converted nearly every arcade game, popular or not, to this platform at the time). This conversion is surprisingly good and true to the original arcade game.
The arcade version of Phoenix has a truly iconic sound. As a kid, I knew I was in a true arcade if I could hear the sweeping sounds of the first level emanating from somewhere within. :)